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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  January 14, 2013 1:00am-1:15am EST

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>> next, book tv interviewed richard gelles about the book "the third lie." this is about ten minutes.
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>> well, book tv is on the road. we're in philadelphia at the university of pennsylvania, and we're interview something professors. who also happen to be authors. we want to introduce you to the dean of the university of pennsylvania school of social policy and practice, this is richard gelles on your screen one of his books, his most recent, is called: "the third lie: why government programs don't work and a blueprint for change." dr. gelless, i'm here from the government and i'm here to help you true? >> guest: not true. >> host: why? >> guest: they don't tallly help in some instances it's little more than -- i hate to say that's -- the good-gooddedder
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employment act, lots of people would like to help, but if you look at whether the needle has moved and'em have been helped by substantial amounts of government programs and money, the bottom line is very rarely are people helped. and i thought that it was a story worth telling. the idea came to me as i was being smuggled into the back door of the state house in the state of hawai'i for a meeting with the secretary, the speaker of the house. hawai'i was spending a half billion dollars a year on special education. part of that was subsidized by the federal government by the disables act and the rest was being paid for by the taxpayers of hawai'i. and we had been there two years to see whether the half a billion dollars was actually helping special education children. and we had gone through 500
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files, and we had discovered almost no help. lots of services were being provided. lots of money was being diverted in inappropriate ways. the commissioner of education for the state of hawai'i had given a $250,000 grant to someone on the big island to run a special education program, whose last job was hula dancer. that seemed a little odd at face value, and turn out not surprisingly, she was hefeng a sexual relationship with the commissioner. people giving 30, 40, 50,000-dollar grants for horseback riding. i wouldn't have written the book if i thought i was an isolated case, but i'd been in the field of social policy for 40 years and kept seeing this happen again and again and again, and i said maybe it's time to tell the story, that the special programs that people argue about, that they don't want to cut the
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funding for, that are sacred cows, in fact do not do a whole lot of good. head start. i'm sure i made no friends when i started the chapter by saying head start is an $8 billion program, clearly a sacred cow. nobody wants to cut it. it's never in the debate and yet all of the positive effects are gone by the children get the third grade. >> host: why. >> the head start. doesn't deal with the underlying social problems that affect the kids who are means tested eligible in head start. that was the key. the key to why a lot of these programs don't work is they are targeted programs based on some sort of income eligibility or special eligibility, and an enormous amount of funding and energy goes into the means
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testing, and eligibility testing, leaving very little money for the actual program. so the programs end up being low-dose, very minimal, and they're not sufficient to change the educational outcomes of children. just providing them head start programs does not deal with the fact that come from violent homes, violent neighborhoods, poverty, homelessness, food insufficiency, you just can't overcome those kind of deficits by providing head start education program. so that's where the book began. and most o the people advised me said, well, it's a very interesting book. i'm sure you'll get on fox tv. my goal was not to be a critic. i said, let me do part two of the book, to calm people down and say there are some social programs that are quite effective, and maybe we can learn a lesson from them. the big quiz that in the course
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of writing the book i conducted and bored to death my wife and my children, was, let me sit down with everybody i know and tell me the three government programs that have been the most effective in, say, the last 65 years. almost every one of my academy friends would say head start and i would say, wrong. no evidence it works. the most effective government program is in sort of chronological order, social security, the g.i. bill, 1944, and medicare in 1965. now, there will be some pushback about that. even u.s.a. today had an editorial today that said social security is a pay as you go program. no, it's not. it can never go broke. provided that you don't take the trust fund and spend it on government debt, which is what we have done for 60 years. but social security has all but ended poverty among those over 65. medicare has all but ended
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significant healthcare problems among those over 65. and the g.i. bill gets very little credit in 2012 for being the key social policy that built the american middle class. american middle class was built on two basic components of the g.i. bill. access to education, affordable access to education, which was a voucher program. meaning the g.i.s could go to any school they wanted to. the money went to them instead of schools. the second its access to affordable housing. if you roll the clock ahead to 2012, why is the middle class suffering? we don't have access to affordable high quality higher education, our students are taking on vastly too much debt. and my two sons, 38 and 34 years of age, who have good incomes, in one case more than mine --
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couldn't even buy a house recently because the price of the house exceeds their income, and they're in the top 10% of income in the united states. that mean housing is no longer accessible to the middle class, and when the middle class can't buy house, the middle class has we have known it since 1950 ceases to exist. so that's part two of the book. programs that don't work, programs that do work, and the intellectual challenge, which took the alongest period to get my head around was, if you know that these programs don't work and you have a good fix on why, and you know these programs do work and you have a good fix on why, are you capable of developing a social program or blueprint for a program that would work? and that opportunity out to be quite tricky. you would like to help children. you would like to deal with social disadvantage of children.
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and the road block is it it not in the political times, whether you're right or left of center or on the center. our government is not about to help children by directing significant social resources to their parents. so, one of the reasons most of our social programs fail is we give so little to the parents, and it really doesn't overcome much in the way of social disadvantage. so, that stopped me cold. i said, how do you help children if you can't get the money to them before they're 18? and the end result was, you can't. you have to wait until they're 18. and so i begged and borrowed and adapted the notion of a futures account which, based on the principle that every year a child is alive you will deposit $3,000 into a futures account. at age 18 the child would have access to the futures account,
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the adult now, or chronological adult, would have access to the funds and you can use the money for two things north surprisingly, based on the g.i. bill, access to higher education, doesn't have to be a university, post secondary education. and/or you can use the money for housing. it would accumulate to 54,000 daz -- $54,000 a year, which is what it would cost fewer found year at penn or four years as state-supported institution. and $54,000, interestingly enough, is 20% -- a little more than 20's for the median selling price of a house in the united states. so, it's the new g.i. bill for american children, in 2012. it is not means tested. everybody gets it. it can be used for two things. and it would do two things, i think, that are important. one, although i can't have
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children from zero to 18, i can at least reset the game at age 18. it's a restart. so, what all of disadvantage that happened until 18, at least at 18 you have the financial where with annual -- wherewithal to be a home owner or get a secondary education. the second part is to rebuild the middle class. i don't see any social policies on the horizon -- the election is over, not one candidate said anything intelligent about this is how you rebuild the american middle class. so little tiny book, not all that that thick, tell threes stores. what does work and why it does work, what could work and how to mak it work. >> host: perform gelles, do you come at this from a liberal or
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conservative point of view and you mentioned fox news. >> guest: practical. i've worked in policy in washington. i've been a dean of the school of social policy. and i find that purple is my color. i'm not particularly interested in taking an ideological point of view. i'm interested in results. and the danger of writing a book like this is -- and i've already discovered it -- my extremely liberal friends wish i had never written the book, and my extremely conservative friends were i didn't want to spend this much of the government money. if i can tick both sides off and be true the data, i have done the book i wanted to do. >> the third lie is the name of the book, why government programs don't work and the blueprint for change, written written by the university of pennsylvania's richard gelles, who is dean of the school of policy and practice. thank you for your time today.
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>> we're at the national press club books and author knight. we're here with celia wechsler, to discuss a profession in crisis. you're a former journalist, why? >> because i could not become -- be the mother i wanted to off a small child and do the journalism i wanted to do. then i found a really wonderful and fulfilling career as a public interest lobbiess but i always was very emotionally attached to journalism, and this book gave me a chance to connect to people, many of whom left journalism at the top of their names with some of the biggest media outlets in the country, and i was able to explore with
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them their feelings about the secession, and this is media criticism with a human face. the lives of journalists are very exciting, and rich, and there are reasons for leading the progression procession and sometimes they leave and come back or leave and start their own nonprofit investigative journalism organization, as chuck lewis did. sometimes they leave like david simon and become the author of "the wire." so, these are people who have had rich and varied stories, and the story leave the reader with the idea that journalism is not dead. that the future of journalism is a little uncertain, but that the need for journalism continues. >> you profile 11 journalists -- i into say former journalistness this book.


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